|Branding||CBS 3 (general)
Western Mass News (newscasts)
Can Count On
|Channels||Digital: 21 (UHF)
Virtual: 3.5 (PSIP)
3.6 Cozi TV
|First air date||1988|
|Call letters' meaning||W Springfield/
|Sister station(s)||WFSB, WGGB-TV|
|Former callsigns||W42AU (1988–1994)
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
42 (UHF, 1988–1994)
67 (UHF, 1994–2010)
|Former affiliations||TBN (1988–2003)|
|Transmitter power||6 kW|
WSHM-LD is the low-powered, CBS-affiliated television station for the Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts. Licensed to Springfield, it broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 21 (or virtual channel 3.5 via PSIP) from a transmitter on Ridge Road in Wilbraham. Owned by the Meredith Corporation, the station is sister to ABC/Fox/MyNetworkTV affiliate WGGB-TV. The two outlets share studios together on Liberty Street in Springfield.
Although considered a separate station in its own right, WSHM is actually operated as a semi-satellite of WFSB in Hartford/New Haven, Connecticut. The most notable network programming differences between WSHM and WFSB include its airing of CBS This Morning Saturday (while WFSB does not), showing Face the Nation in its entirety, and broadcasting The Late Late Show with James Corden in its regular time slot (as opposed to WFSB which airs the program on a thirty-minute tape delay).
In terms of syndicated programing, WSHM airs The Dr. Oz Show weekdays at 5 p.m. (as compared with WFSB showing the program at 4 o'clock) while Comics Unleashed is exclusive to this station. In addition, WSHM airs separate commercials inserts and its own legal identifications. Master control and some internal operations are based within WFSB's studios on Capital Boulevard in Rocky Hill, Connecticut.
The station signed-on as W42AU in 1988 airing a low-powered analog signal, on UHF channel 42, from a transmitter on Mount Tom in Holyoke. The station served as a repeater of Trinity Broadcasting's national religious network. In 1994, it moved to UHF channel 67 and became W67DF. Originally, CBS was seen in the Pioneer Valley on WHYN-TV (now WGGB-TV) from 1953 until 1959. The end of WHYN's CBS affiliation came several months after WFSB (then known as WTIC-TV with no relation to the current station except for the same call sign) became the network's Connecticut affiliate.
Due to its strong analog signal on heritage VHF channel 3, the station also became CBS' affiliate of record in Springfield. Later on, WTIC/WFSB would begin purchasing syndicated programming to air in the Hartford/New Haven and Springfield/Holyoke markets (this practice continues today). It also blocked several attempts by WGGB to switch from ABC back to CBS.
In 2003, the Meredith Corporation (having acquired WFSB in June 1997) purchased W67DF in order to set up a separate operation in the Pioneer Valley. Reasons for such a launch ranged from local advertising opportunities to complaints from New England Patriots fans in weeks when the station chose to air other National Football League games from the American Football Conference (such as division rivals New York Jets or Buffalo Bills). In November of that year, the station joined CBS and adopted the call sign WSHM-LP after officially upgrading to low-powered status.
It immediately replaced WFSB on Pioneer Valley cable systems. The station became known on-air as "CBS 3" based on the cable channel location in order to encourage longtime WFSB viewers to stay with WSHM after the switch. Right from the start of its CBS affiliation, it was a semi-satellite of WFSB (it even operated out of that outlet's studios, known as "Broadcast House", at Constitution Plaza in Downtown Hartford) and cleared its syndicated programming except for those shows already seen on the other two commercial stations based in Springfield. In August 2006, WSHM changed its logo from one resembling sister station KPHO-TV to a logo resembling (but unrelated to) CBS owned-and-operated KYW-TV in Philadelphia.
On May 25, 2007, WFSB's studios were flooded by a water main break. The flooding knocked out power and phone service to the building which in turn caused WFSB to go dark. WSHM's master control was also affected and the station went black for about an hour mid-afternoon and intermittently throughout the evening. There were some points during the weekend that its "CBS 3 Springfield" IDs were seen on WFSB while that outlet's IDs were seen on WSHM. On June 27, the master control and internal operations of WSHM and WFSB moved to a newly constructed facility (south of Hartford) in Rocky Hill. Since it is a low-powered station, WSHM was exempt from the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) mandated switch to digital-only broadcasting on or before June 12, 2009. Back on February 28, 2008, a high definition feed of this station was added to Comcast replacing WFSB which moved to digital channel 291 and became a standard definition feed. Charter would follow suit two years later.
On June 18, 2014, Meredith announced that it would acquire WGGB from Gormally Broadcasting creating a duopoly with WSHM. Although FCC broadcast ownership rules normally forbid same-market ownership of two of the four highest-rated television stations (based on monthly total-day ratings), which often constitute stations affiliated with the four major broadcast networks (the Springfield market has only three full-power television stations, too few to allow a duopoly in any normal circumstance), the deal is permissible under FCC rules which allow common ownership of full-power and low-power television stations (the respective class designations of WGGB and WSHM) in all markets. This sale was completed on October 31, 2014. Although WSHM and WGGB initially maintained separate facilities, WSHM was eventually consolidated into WGGB's studios in May 2015.
On September 8, 2015, Media General announced that it would acquire Meredith for $2.4 billion, with the combined group to be renamed Meredith Media General once the sale was finalized. Because Media General already owns WWLP, and the Springfield-Holyoke market does not have enough full-power television stations to legally allow a duopoly in any event (WGGB, WWLP and PBS station WGBY are the only full-power licenses assigned to the market), the companies would have been required to sell either WGGB or WWLP to comply with FCC ownership rules as well as recent changes to those rules regarding same-market television stations that restrict sharing agreements, had the sale gone through. WSHM-LD was the only one of the three stations affected by the proposed merger that could legally be acquired by Meredith Media General, as FCC rules permit common ownership of full-power and low-power stations regardless of the number of stations within a single market, and it was possible the station would be paired with either WGGB or WWLP after the sales were completed. However, on January 27, 2016, Nexstar Broadcasting Group announced that it had reached an agreement to acquire Media General, resulting in the termination of Meredith's acquisition by Media General.
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|3.5||1080i||16:9||WSHM-HD||Main WSHM programming / CBS|
In September 2010, WSHM began to carry select live UMass Minutemen sports programming on its own second subchannel in addition to airing as a 24-hour local news and weather station. At some point in time, it joined Cozi TV. WSHM-LD2 can also be seen on Comcast digital channel 293 and Charter digital channel 183.
An application filed with the FCC calling for WSHM to launch its own low-powered digital station on channel 49 was dismissed in June 2006. Another application to move the existing analog signal to channel 45 was dismissed in 2004 at the station's request. More recently, WSHM had a construction permit to air a low-powered digital signal on UHF channel 21. On November 22, 2010, this became active after WSHM finally gained a "license to cover" allowing it to turn-off its analog signal (on channel 67) and activate its own digital signal for the first time. Prior to this transition, WSHM was carried through a standard definition simulcast on WFSB's second digital subchannel. Through PSIP, its digital broadcast channel appears as 3.5, which is based on WFSB's virtual channel identification. Normally, it would be 67.1 taken from WSHM's defunct analog signal.
On January 7, 2011 to reflect the change to digital-exclusive transmission, its calls were officially changed to WSHM-LD. WFSB's current digital signal can be reached in southern areas of the Pioneer Valley giving the area access to two CBS affiliates.
Initially as a semi-satellite of WFSB, WSHM did not operate a news department of its own nor did it simulcast any local newscasts from its parent. In October 2005, WSHM finally established a news operation and began producing local news from studios in the Monarch Tower (at Monarch Place) in Downtown Springfield's Metro Center section. It was the first station in the United States to use Grass Valley's "Ignite" control room system. Originally, CBS 3 Springfield News was only seen Monday through Saturday nights at 6, Sundays at 6:30, and every night at 11.
Initially after entering the news race in the Pioneer Valley, it struggled to make a dent in the ratings of longtime market leader NBC affiliate WWLP and established runner up ABC outlet WGGB. Eventually, this station grew substantially across the board during the May 2009 sweeps period to within decimal points of WGGB in several key demographics. Compared with the area's two other commercial television stations, WSHM tended to have a flashier format in its newscasts featuring more fast-paced coverage.
Fending off a challenge by WGGB, WSHM debuted the area's first prime time newscast on August 18, 2008. Known as CBS 3 Springfield Non-Stop News at 10, the twenty-minute program aired in a commercial-free format on its then cable-exclusive local weather channel seven nights a week (the program was also streamed live on its website). The launch beat Fox affiliate WGGB-DT2 which started its own nightly prime time show at 10 on September 8. At some point in time for an unknown reason, WSHM's 10 p.m. broadcast was dropped. On August 24, 2009, it began airing a thirty-minute show on weekday afternoons called CBS 3 Springfield News First at 4. It was the first Pioneer Valley station to make such a launch. The program was expanded to sixty minutes on February 4, 2013.
In September 2010, WSHM debuted an updated local news format that contained the top stories of the day and a full weather segment shown in the first five minutes of all newscasts before a commercial break. To go along with the change, a new logo was made public and included an updated music package and graphics theme identical to WFSB. In the past during weather forecast segments, this station had been exclusively using WFSB's Doppler weather radar. Known as "Early Warning Pinpoint Doppler", this is based on top of a terminal building at Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, Connecticut. Eventually, live NOAA National Weather Service radar data from several regional sites began to be used interchangeably with WFSB's radar and was branded on WSHM as "Pinpoint Doppler".
Following Meredith's purchase of WGGB, the news operations of WGGB and WSHM were merged under the Western Mass News branding on April 21, 2015. The combined news operation is based out of WGGB's facilities on Liberty Street; this led to the closure of WSHM's Monarch Place studios following the April 20, 2015 newscasts. As a result of the merger, WGGB and WSHM simulcast the weeknight 6 p.m. and nightly 11 p.m. newscasts. WSHM retained its weekday afternoon local news hour from 4 until 5 which is not seen on WGGB. In addition, its partnership with the Springfield Republican was extended to include WGGB. Also, as a result of the change, local news is seen on WSHM in high definition for the first time.
CBS' O&O station in Boston, WBZ-TV, shares resources with WSHM for coverage of Eastern Massachusetts and this station does the same for western areas of the state. In addition, WSHM and WFSB will use each other's resources (such as reporters and live trucks) when covering major news stores that affect the region as a whole. iHeartMedia-owned radio stations WHYN (560 AM) and WHYN-FM (93.1 FM) partner with WSHM for severe weather coverage and winter weather storm closings. There was no regular sports segment seen during its newscasts although there was a Sunday night sports highlight show that aired after its 11 p.m. news. Unlike most CBS affiliates, WSHM still does not broadcast local newscasts in several day parts. This includes weekday and weekend mornings, midday during the week, the 5 o'clock hour on weeknights, and the 6 o'clock hour on weekends.
- Meredith Acquires WGGB in Springfield, TVSpy, June 18, 2014.
- "Consummation Notice". CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. October 31, 2014. Retrieved November 3, 2014.
- "Media General Acquiring Meredith For 2.4 Billion". TVNewsCheck. NewsCheck Media. September 8, 2015.
- Cynthia Littleton (September 8, 2015). "TV Station Mega Merger: Media General Sets $2.4 Billion Acquisition of Meredith Corp.". Variety. Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved September 9, 2015.
- Chris Lindahl (September 8, 2015). "Media General buying Meredith Corp.; companies own Springfield-area TV stations WWLP, WGGB, CBS 3, Fox 6". Daily Hampshire Gazette. Newspapers of New England. Retrieved September 9, 2015.
- RabbitEars TV Query for WSHM
- Rizzuto, Robert (April 21, 2015). "CBS 3 Springfield news team signs off to pave way for Western Mass. News, in partnership with ABC 40, FOX6". The Republican. Retrieved April 22, 2015.
- "Western Mass News makes debut in local media scene". The Republican. April 21, 2015. Retrieved April 22, 2015.